The best gift my high school sweetheart ever gave me was the gift of goodbye. After nearly three years together, he broke up with me the summer before my freshman year of college. At the time, I was devastated. He was two and a half years older than I was, and back then I saw us together for the long haul. He had talked about pinning me once I pledged a sorority, and we planned on adopting a dog together. Even I want to make fun of myself for that one. All that changed the day we sat in his car in the Thriftway parking lot (lol, high school). He dumped me right then and there, and I was heartbroken.
Soon the air was a little crisper, the leaves were changing colors, and I was packing my bags for my new school, broken heart and all. We talked a few times at the start of the school year, but for the most part I stayed true to the promise I made to myself that I would stay single for the first time since I was fifteen. This, my friends, is where the magic happened.
Being single in college is quite possibly the best thing that you can do for yourself. College is, for most, the first chance there is to exert any sort of independence. You choose your friends, you choose your classes, you choose whether or not you go to said classes. Everything is up to you. Arguably, there is not a time in your life in which the world will be more at your fingertips. The beauty of being unattached at this confusing, mysterious, exciting time is that the only person that matters is you.
Selfish years are limited. Most people will eventually get married, have kids, have grandkids, and days will be transformed and filled with worrying about people other than yourself. In a healthy relationship, you consider your significant other’s needs alongside your own. They depend on you, and you depend on them. Frankly, you have your whole life to be someone’s in-case-of-emergency contact.
At eighteen, twenty, or even twenty-three, you still hardly have any idea what your future holds. Being single in college means the opportunity to say yes to any and all formals, date dashes, study dates, and set-ups. You meet some great people and you meet some shitty people. You realize that you hate guys who are super into football and you love guys who can bake. Committed relationships close doors that you never knew could open. You miss out on late-night heart to hearts and prank wars with roommates because you’re with your boyfriend or you’re skyping him. You miss out on going co-ed camping because you don’t want your significant other to get jealous. At the end of the day, if you’re meant to be together you will be together, there’s no rush.
Though it may not seem like it, four years can go by in the blink of an eye. These four years are transitional — a time for you to begin to decipher who you are at the very core of your being. Though certain periods may be tough, and the prospect of finding someone else to go through life with you is enticing, there is something to be said for getting yourself through the hard times and understanding how much you can take as an individual.
Yes, having a boyfriend or girlfriend to share Monday morning coffee and Friday night drunchies with sounds fantastic, but if you don’t yet know how you like your coffee on your own, it doesn’t make sense to add someone else’s order on top of yours. .